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Young Judith Dunbar is a quiet, gentle voiced teenager in the 1930s, relegated to a life at boarding school thanks to her colonial parents. Judith becomes adopted into the family of her best friend, young Loveday Carey Lewis, after the death of her aunt and guardian, Louise Forrester. Judith falls in love with the family, their home, Nancherrow, and Loveday's older brother Edward. When war strikes, Judith and the Carey-Lewis family all suffer, as Judith loses her family, and Loveday her fiancé; Gus. Judith muddles through the war losing Edward and aunt Lavinia in the process. But the war draws to a close, and Judith finds new romance, and Loveday suffers the consequences of a very hard decision, as she is forced to choose between Gus whom she loves, and her husband, Walter, the father of her young boy Nathaniel. Written by
Like so many things this was not as good as the book. It was simply unrealistic to hope to fit a thousand page book into a three hour drama, and the story that they tell here in this TV drama suffers as a result. The cutting of large chunks of the story and other small alterations make for an average script.
On the acting front there is a mishmash of performances. Peter O'Toole and Joanna Lumley are well casted, even if the latter does at points over do it a bit. There are also early promising performances for Kiera Knightley and Paul Bettany, but the pivotal roles of the Judith and Loveday characters just don't work.
In the spirit of fairness it is worth mentioning some of the lovely scenery shown, and the good attempt on the period costume and props. However what annoyed me the most was that they partially changed the ending from the book to allow for the sequel.
If you haven't read the book this will appear as slightly dated average world war two drama with some familiar faces in it. But if you are a fan of the Pilcher novel then I'm afraid this slightly tacky adaptation does not live up to the book, and paints a more simpler and cruder picture of what is a truly lovely story.
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